FELIKS NOWOWIEJSKI (1877-1946): Quo Vadis for Soloists, Chorus, Orchestra and Organ, Op. 30.
Catalogue Number: 05S002
Description: Titled by the composer “Dramatic Scenes based on the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz”, this 96-minute oratorio was premiered in 1909 and was wildly successful (Carnegie Hall was its first American visit), leading to its publisher issuing texts in twelve (!) languages. In five scenes - “The Fire of Rome”, “The Roman Forum”, “The Catacombs”, “On the Appian Way” and “Ruins of the Colosseum” - Nowowiejski musically pits the Roman Empire against Christianity, dispensing with the novel’s subplots, with garish and ostentatious music for the pagan Romans and glances at Wagner for the Christians when St. Peter meets Christ in the Appian Way (both the the appearance of the Rhine gold at the bottom of the river and the spiritual purity of Lohengrin are evoked). There are Lisztian leitmotifs, Handelian choruses, Bachian (or Regerian?) counterpoint... No longueurs or soggy piety here; the score moves and carries the listener along at an appropriate pace. 2 CDs. No texts (sung in German, the original language of the set texts). Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano), Artur Ruciński, Sebastian Szumski (baritones), Rafał Siwek (bass), Arkadiusz Bialic (organ), Górecki Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra of the Feliks Nowowiejski Warmia and Mazury Philharmonic, Olsztyn; Piotr Sułkowski.